Self-defence classes teach women to escape attackers

SELF DEFENCE: Women from Mount Isa and further afield attended a self-defence class run by Nadia, who has 20 years experience in Taekwondo. Esther MacIntyre
SELF DEFENCE: Women from Mount Isa and further afield attended a self-defence class run by Nadia, who has 20 years experience in Taekwondo. Esther MacIntyre

A local woman is teaching others in the North West to defend themselves against would-be attackers.

Nadia Cowperthwaite held a self-defence class at North West Gymnastics in Mount Isa last weekend for women of any age to learn important ideas and moves.

The former Taekwondo athlete described the lessons as “designed so you remember” stating a strong theoretical background is just as important as physical ability.

“The most important thing about learning self-defence is the ideas you take away, rather than the actual technique,” Ms Cowperthwaite said.

“Breaking fingers is an example, just knowing how effective that is as a means to hurt someone.

FIGHT CLUB: Former taekwondo athlete Nadia Cowperthwaite demonstrates a powerful kick technique for women attending a self-defence class in Mount Isa. Photo: Esther MacIntyre

FIGHT CLUB: Former taekwondo athlete Nadia Cowperthwaite demonstrates a powerful kick technique for women attending a self-defence class in Mount Isa. Photo: Esther MacIntyre

“My Mum did a class years ago and realised, “it’s so simple once you understand the ideas”.

“Those things she learnt in class helped her when she was attacked in real life,” Ms Cowperthwaite said.

Ms Cowperthwaite is happy to pass on her knowledge if it means more women are able to protect themselves.

FOR KICKS: Two students sparr with a new kicking technique taught by Nadia (right) who takes classes for small groups of women. Photo: Esther MacIntyre

FOR KICKS: Two students sparr with a new kicking technique taught by Nadia (right) who takes classes for small groups of women. Photo: Esther MacIntyre

“It’s really fun, I love doing this and am always happy to teach people who want to learn,” she said.

Mount Isa classes are open to women of any age, but happen sporadically.

Ms Cowperthwaite says she has tried various teaching set ups in the past and now runs occasional classes for small groups of women.

"This is good for people who want a one-off lesson, so when people ask me about it, I’ll run a class.

“I’m not doing it for the money, it’s $10 and what you learn in that hour and a half is good value,” Ms Cowperthwaite said.

Despite teaching women to defend themselves against attackers Ms Cowperthwaite said there needs to be a shift in societal attitudes towards sexual assault.

“Of course I teach people how to fight back, but I’m a real advocate for changing the way we look at attack,” Ms Cowperthwaite said.

“Rather than women feeling like they need to protect themselves, we really need to be teaching people not to attack,” she said.

Ms Cowperthwaite says the issue comes back to talking to children about respect for others from an early age.

For future classes visit Mount Isa Women’s Self-Defence on Facebook.

Rather than women feeling like they need to protect themselves, we really need to be teaching people not to attack

Self-defence instructor Nadia Cowperthwaite